Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Does Pop Spirituality Offer?

I have a number of friends who are into "spirituality". Not any specific spirituality, mind you, but more of a generic spirituality. I would not necessarily call it "New Age" because some of them have beliefs that might be considered "New Age" while others that label might not fit so cleanly (if that concept even applies to New Age spirituality). So here I speak of the popular / generic spirituality of some of the folks I know. I wonder how much it's like the generic spirituality of anyone you know?
  1. Pop spirituality makes no judgments: therefore it cannot distinguish real from imaginary, true from false, right from wrong.
  2. Pop spirituality will never confront you with your shortcomings: therefore it can never make you grow out of them.
  3. Pop spirituality will never teach hard truths: therefore it can never make you think to your utmost.
  4. Pop spirituality will never tell you there is objective reality behinds its beliefs: therefore it can never offer certain comfort in times of trouble.
  5. Pop spirituality will never tell you there is a right or wrong path: therefore it can never give you guidance.
  6. Pop spirituality will never call you to repent: therefore it cannot work in you to create a clean heart.
  7. Pop spirituality views spirituality as a private matter: therefore it rarely builds a community where a person belongs.
  8. Feminist pop spirituality has no place for men: therefore it cannot help women where their lives involve men.
  9. Pop spirituality has no place for marriage: therefore it cannot help with sustaining a life-long love.
  10. Pop spirituality sees humanity as the highest authority: therefore it cannot inspire us to go beyond ourselves.

That's other than the obvious: Jesus rose from the dead: therefore we have certainty that he speaks the truth about these things.


Janet said...

Very good. Of course, if you confronted your friends with this, they would probably cease being your friends.

Weekend Fisher said...

You said it. Confrontation usually isn't the best way ... wishing I was more skilled at finding the non-confrontational way. ;)

LoieJ said...

Well, I don't know enough people with that kind of nebulous spirituality to make those sweeping statements.

However, #3 bugs me. I think of certain "conservative" Christian speakers I've heard who have proclaimed some hard truths which seemed to me to undermine any thinking. And others which proclaimed some truths that seemed to me to be superficial and the underlying assumption was "accept this and don't think about it."

Weekend Fisher said...

That's the fun part of life: anything can be mis-used. Take the phrase "brutally honest". I can't remember ever hearing that except when what came next put brutality first and was just using honesty as a pretext. Sin will use anything as a cloak, and the prettier the better to hide in. Or as C.S. Lewis put it, of all kinds of bad men in the world, the religious bad men are the worst.

LoieJ said...

Ha, ... That makes my MIL's pastor a bad man. My DH just says, "How can obviously bright men go to that seminary and come out unable to think?" And it is Lutheran.